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Foundation story

Impacting local health now and in the future

Published on Monday March 18, 2024
Lucy and Robert Cook

Planned Giving: Lucy and Robert Cook

When the Centra Foundation partnered with a nationally recognized firm to offer confidential and complimentary values-based estate planning education, Lucy and Robert Cook decided it was time to review the plan they had put in place more than 20 years ago. 

Thanks to recommendations from one of the nation’s leading experts in charitable estate planning, they are making changes to better provide for their family and make a bigger impact on the community they love. And they have peace of mind about what they didn’t change.

Lucy and Robert Cook care deeply about their community and the health of the people in it. 

So when the Centra Foundation partnered with a nationally recognized firm to offer supporters confidential and complimentary values-based estate planning education, the Cooks decided to utilize the service.  

“It made us sit down and look at our estate plan that we put in place over 20 years ago,” Robert said. “No pressure involved. It helped guide us in some changes we really needed to make and opened our eyes to some things we could do to better direct our resources. It’s a great way to help the community.” 

The process also validated a lot of what they had in place and helped them have peace of mind.

They appreciated the opportunity to meet with an expert in charitable estate planning and the pace of the education, which is tailored to the specific needs and values of each person or couple. 

“Our meetings were far enough apart that we could come up with some good questions based on what we discussed in the previous meeting and what was recommended,” Lucy said, pointing out that charitable tax laws can change. “In some ways, it was validation that we are doing the right thing. It was great to have another set of eyes.” 

Regularly reviewing an estate plan is “something we should probably all do every 10 years or so,” Robert added. “You never know what can happen. The better you can dot the i’s and cross the t’s, the better it is for your family and those you’re trying to help.”

Giving back 

Lucy and Robert both learned about giving back and helping others as children. They worked hard to instill those values in their own children, John and Thomas.

As adults making their home in Lynchburg, the Cooks crafted careers oriented toward service and caring. Volunteering became an important part of their lives and is something they continue to do.

Robert, who serves on the Centra Foundation’s board, has cared for the community for more than 30 years as a urologist. Lucy worked in the field of human resources before opening Magnolia Foods, serving and nourishing the community through her business for over 16 years. 

After years of service, they have deep ties to central Virginia and affection for people in their community. Lynchburg is home. 

“It has changed a lot in the 62 years I’ve lived here,” Robert said. “But people here look after each other. It has been a great place to raise a family, and the medical community has been part of that.”

A passion for local, community-based healthcare

Born at Virginia Baptist Hospital (VBH), which is celebrating its centennial anniversary in 2024, Robert worked there as an orderly when he was a teenager – a job that sparked his desire to go into healthcare. “Not counting being born at VBH, Centra has been a part of my life for almost 50 years,” he said. 

He believes giving through the Foundation helps to make Centra a better system, which in turn helps patients and communities in central Virginia. 

“Centra is such an important part of this community,” he said. “I’m not sure people understand or realize how important it is that Centra is an independent community healthcare system. It’s just a more personal place to work and get your service than the big systems. People really care. 

“Good healthcare is vital to this community, and that’s something we should all support.”

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